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Bay Bridge Construction Reaches Final Major Milestone

OAKLAND (KCBS) - The Bay Bridge's self-anchored suspension span is now holding itself up, marking the last major milestone in construction of the new eastern portion of the bridge, Caltrans said Wednesday.

The three-step process of transferring the 35,200-ton load of the bridge from the temporary supports onto the single main cable started back on Aug. 3, said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney.

"Right now when you drive over it, you can clearly see that the suspension bridge is engaged and it's actually doing what it was designed to do, lift its own weight," he said.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

The full load transfer, one of the most complex procedures of the project, will actually be finished in November. Then crews enter the home stretch before the bridge opens next summer.

Ney said the next challenge would be detail work such as painting, paving and installing barrier rails.

There's also seismic testing that must be done before the bridge can open.

"We have to make sure all of the seismic joints are ready for the earthquake," Ney said, adding the project remains on schedule to open during Labor Day weekend in 2013.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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